My preschoolers are beside themselves that it’s October. They’re already telling me about their Halloween costumes. So far, we have a trio of Elsas, a half-dozen superheroes and one scary green monster.

I’m excited about October, too. But my passions run more toward soup.

Specifically, squash soup.

This creamy, dreamy, vegan soup is a mashup of Ina Garten’s roasted butternut squash and apple soup and an early-aught’s recipe for spiced pumpkin bisque. I borrowed ingredient combinations from Garten, lifted the spice mix from Bon Appetit, then added a few techniques from the inestimable Suzanne Goin.

I like to serve this soup in tiny glasses as a party appetizer or in big bowls to kick off client dinner soirees. It’s delicious as is but lends itself to gussying up with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and chives. If you don’t mind dairy, you can top it with a dollop of sour cream, creme fraiche or even whipped mascarpone cheese.

The hardest part of the recipe is peeling the squash and pureeing the vegetables, which means the dish is fast, simple and easy enough to whip together on a busy weeknight.

It looks gorgeous in the autumn soup tureen I found on sale.

I wonder if my preschoolers would like it?

bnut-apple-soup

Autumn-Spiced Butternut Squash & Apple Soup 

  •  1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium-size chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar

Generously glaze a large pot with olive oil. (I use between a quarter and a third of a cup). Heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic. Season with the salt and pepper.

Saute the onion and garlic until they begin to soften.

Add the apples and squash. Saute for 10 minutes.

Add the bay leaf, cloves, spices and sage. Stir well and let the mixture cook for 2 minutes:

bnut-soup-veggies

Add the water. Stir well, then cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil.

Uncover the pot, reduce your heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables and apples are soft and falling apart.

Cool well.

Working in two batches, puree the solids in a blender, adding just enough of the liquid (1 to 1 1/2 cups per batch) to allow everything to pulverize.

Move the pureed veggies and apples to a clean pot. Stir in just enough remaining liquid to bring the soup to the consistency you like. (I only use about 1 additional cup of the cooking liquid, but I tend toward thicker soups. You might like yours thinner.) Stir in the sherry wine vinegar, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper and/or vinegar if necessary.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to a day to allow the flavors to meld. If you choose this latter route, reserve any cooking liquid. Gently reheat the soup on the stove when you’re ready to serve it, adding a bit of the reserved liquid to loosen it.

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